Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Darling Little Angels

Parenthood is an amazing thing. There are so many precious moments that I've had sprinkled throughout my days that I cannot imagine what my life would be like without my beautiful little girl. That being said, I hate children. I don't hate them ALL, and I don't hate them ALL the time. Just most of them, most of the time.

Before I had a child, I thought that my dislike of them was merely the result of a lack of knowledge about how to deal with them. I assumed that once I had one, I would love them all. Boy was I wrong!!

I recently volunteered to chaperone a field trip to the zoo with my daughter's first grade class. I knew when I agreed to go that it was probably not going to be the most enjoyable day I've ever had but I figured that it couldn't be too traumatic. After all, there were going to be at least 4 other adults there to help corral the 18 children that went. Again, I was wrong.

From the moment the children were grouped up with the adults, I found myself fighting the urge to hang myself with their backpacks. They chatter non stop (nothing they said came even close to being intelligable), they only have one volume (extremely loud) and their voices are ALL incredibly high pitched. I'm certain that confining all that noise within one tiny bus did wonders for the stock price of Tylenol. Adding to the noise level from my own child's class was yet another class of first graders, crammed into the same bus, with parent chaperones that looked just as miserable as I was. The noise level was no where near the worst part though.

After we endured 3 hours of chasing the children around the zoo, resisting the urge to toss them into the cages with the animals, fighting the feeling that maybe WE would be better off in the cages with the animals and questioning the decision to remove corporal punishment from schools, we had to load them all onto the bus for the ride home.

As traumatic as the ride TO the zoo was, the ride home took it to a whole new level of horror. This time, we didn't just have the excited noise level to push us to the brink of insanity, we also had the smell. I don't know if that odor was present on the ride home, if it was triggered at the zoo or if the stench of the zoo simply cleared my sinuses enough for me to notice it but the only word that could describe that smell was REVOLTING.

Children always seem to have a slight aroma to them. Little boys more so than little girls, but it doesn't seem to pass over any child. I always attributed this to the fact that they have such tiny bodies that the odors that accumlate on a daily basis simply have no where to go. After the zoo, I'm beginning to rethink that theory and revise it into one that just states that kids stink solely because they are kids!!

As the trip drew to a close and I plotted the fastest route off that bus and back to the safety of my child free car, I vowed to myself that I would NEVER go on another field trip like that again. Jadyn seems to have other plans though.....she came home from school, crawled into my lap, laid her head on my shoulder, looked into my eyes and said "Momma, thanks for coming with me today. I must be the most special little girl in the whole world!!".....and just like that, I volunteered for the field trip the next day.

I still don't like children and I'm beginning to doubt that I will ever learn to like them. However, regardless of my apparent allergy to that smelly, loud, disrespectful classification of humans known as children, as long as I am rewarded for my torment with words of adoration from my daughter, I suppose I will continue to subject myself to close encounters with those darling little angels for a few more years.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


When I was a kid, the thought of being anything like my mom was absolutely horrifying (don't judge me, you thought the same thing), and when I became a mother, I vowed that I would do things differently. After all, no mother who loved their child would actually spank them right? They wouldn't force them to eat everything on their plate because, let's face it, brussel sprouts are just plain nasty! I was certain that I had everything figured out and that I knew everything there was to know about how to raise a kid. Boy was I wrong!

It wasn't long after I had my own daughter that I began to learn just how incredibly wrong I was. For all of my promises to myself that I would not turn into my mother, I seem to hear her voice coming out of my mouth on an all too regular basis lately. Suddenly, I find myself understanding that she was actually telling me the truth when she said, "I'm spanking you because I love you. It hurts me too." And the "starving Eithiopian kids" tactic to get me to eat my dinner? She was telling the truth about that too! The very methods of punishment that my mother used to dicipline me, while they seemed cruel and borderline abusive at the time, suddenly make a great deal of sense to me. More and more, I hear people that know both my mother and myself telling me how much I look and act like her, and more and more I realize thatI am completely ok with that.

You see, not only is my mother an exceptionally beautiful woman (don't be mad...we've just got good genes), she is also an incredibly smart woman (and I'm not just talking about book smarts), a talented woman (I've never seen a woman juggle as many responsiblities as my Momma) and most importantly, she is a Godly woman. So if someone looks at me and my life, and sees any sort of reflection of my mother in it....then I believe I'll take that as a pretty amazing compliment. If I can handle life's troubles and stress with even a fraction of the grace that I've seen my mother handle them, then I would consider myself a success. If I raise my children exactly the same way that my mother raised me, and they feel the same way about me that I feel about my mother, well, that's even better. Because someday, my baby girl is going to grow up, and she will leave my side (hopefully not to go halfway around the world like I did), and I will have to let her go. My job will be done and the only thing left for me to do will be to pray that I did enough while she was with me.

When the day comes that I have to step back and look at the woman I raised, my one wish is that I managed to become my mother enough that my daughter will someday become me.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

yeah, I'm going there....

I don't normally do this but.....

Politicians lie. They have always lied, and they will always continue to lie. They can't really be blamed....after all, in order to make at least 50% of a country like America like you enough to vote for you, you really have no choice but to lie. Therefore, it seems like fairly solid logic to assume that when elections are drawing near, or it is almost time to start reelection campaigns, the number of lies that our politicians start to spin for our eagerly waiting ears would increase.

This little trick seems to work miracles for people being elected or reelected. The media runs a few stories about how a certain politician "did" something great, or "took a stand" on a subject (whether or not he will ever follow through doesn't really matter). Said politician will give a few really great speeches, (of course, they all pay other people to write their speeches, and so we never actually hear the true words of a politician). The most beautiful part about all these smoke and mirrors? The American people inhale it and beg for more.

We take whatever doctored truth or concocted story the media gives us as gospel truth. We seem to be unable to think for ourselves or do any research to verify the validity of any claims the media makes. We will jump on any bandwagon that comes along, just as long as whatever cause they are advocating is broken down into small enough terms for us to understand without any real mental effort. And as long as there is someone that is willing to sit and patiently spoon feed us their political or religious doctrine with small words and half truths, we will continue to believe and "fight" for that cause.

Once upon a time, this was a country of free thinking people. We were founded because a group of people was tired of being told how to think, how to worship, how to act and how to live their lives. They wanted to be able to have a voice, so they came to a new land and fought to make America a strong, independant nation. I'm pretty sure that every one of our founding fathers would weep to see us now. At some point, we must learn how to think for ourselves again. We have to realize that questioning the decisions of our country's leaders doesn't make us "racist" or a "terrorist". It simply means that we are strong Americans who stand on the same beliefs as our founders did. After all, we are supposed to have a government OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people......Personally, I think it's high time we took our government back.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just to name a few....

What am I thankful for?

I'm thankful for parents. Parents who raised me to be a strong, independant woman with a mind of my own. Parents who loved each other and their children enough to stay married for 29 years and are looking forward to at least 29 more. Parents who not only taught me to think for myself but allowed me to act on my own thoughts and decisions and supported those decisions, even when it cost them money or caused them pain. Parents who showed me that it's ok to follow your dreams, even when following them takes you far away from your comfort zone. Most of all, I'm thankful for parents that lived and breathed a real relationship with God and made sure that no matter what, I know where my salvation and safety lie.

I'm thankful for a husband. A husband who I can laugh about the stupid things with. A husband who "gets" my weird sense of humor and actually laughs at my jokes! A husband who moved us halfway around the world because I "thought it would be cool". A husband that doesn't just accept my (terrible) style, but truly likes it!! (or at least lies convincingly enough that I believe him). Most importantly, I'm thankful for a husband that loves me for me.

I'm thankful for a daughter. A daughter that is beautiful, smart and healthy. A daughter that never fails to make me laugh when I need it the most. A daughter that loves me unconditionally because in her eyes (at least for another year or two), I am "Momma" and I am magic and I am amazing! Above all of that, I am thankful for my daughter, because in my darkest hour, on my worst day, she is the light that shines through and reminds me that there is something worth living for.

I'm thankful for a list of things to be thankful for. A list that goes far beyond what I could begin to tell people in a simple blog. A list that, if it were fully inclusive, would probably take more than a month to write. A list that reminds me how blessed I truly am. I am thankful for a list that can be summed up in two simple words...."my life".

Monday, November 8, 2010

SPAM: It's what's for dinner.

I have a list of questions that haunts me. Questions that I randomly think of when I have nothing better to do than sit around and think about meaningless topics and even more meaningless questions that I will probably never be able to answer. One of those questions deals with SPAM. No, not the irritating emails that I get 500 times a day asking me to send $5,000 over to some poor lady in Morocco that was stranded there after her husband ran off with some king's daughter. I'm talking about the meat called SPAM (if you are of the school of thought that actually believes that the contents of that funny shaped can actually are meat). The question about SPAM that haunts my idle thoughts is "what IS that stuff and why would anyone eat it?"

I have invested a good deal of time into wondering what that rectangular/oval shaped food substitute truly is and why on earth anyone would actually eat it, then my father came along and asked me to compare SPAM to modern life. In that instant I felt like the heavens opened up at God Himself smacked me in the head with that huge "idea" light bulb that comic strips like to use when the characters have a mind boggling revelation.

Now I am sure that all of you are just dying to read what my amazing revelation about SPAM and our modern lives is, so I will tell you.

It's very simple. Modern life literally IS SPAM!

I know, it's a head scratching statement so please allow me to explain.

Spam is a concoction made up of chopped pork shoulder with a little bit of extra ham thrown in there. A modified potato starch is used as a binder. A little bit of salt and water is tossed in just because and sodium nitrate is used as a perservative. While I doubt anyone actually cares what the ingredient list of SPAM is, the point is that SPAM is not actually REAL meat. It contains meat but it cannot truly replace a good old fashioned T-bone or porkchop. Basically it is a fake meat.
Nutritionally, it has high calories, low protein, minimal carbs (no matter what Atkins says, you really do need them), nearly half the required daily value of sodium and fat, and next to nothing in the line of vitamins and minerals. For all intents and purposes SPAM adds absolutely nothing good to an individuals diet.
Lastly SPAM is basically designed for speed cooking. The main reason that most people buy and use SPAM (unless they are Hawaiian) is because they do not have time to cook real meat (or don't want to cook real meat).

With these basic facts established several parallels to life as we know it become painfully clear.

Fact one: SPAM is a "fake" meat. The "meat" of our lives are our friends and families. Unfortunately it is getting harder and harder to find "real" people anymore. Even within our families we are surrounded by the mentality that it is a "dog eat dog world" and people will do or say whatever they feel is neccessary to get what they want or what they feel they need. Essentially we are surrounded by fake people that we cannot rely on to give us the sustanance we need to have healthy relationships.

Fact two: SPAM basically has zero nutritional value. Our world has become cold and self-centered. If something does not directly benefit us then more often than not we have no interest in doing it. It has been proven over and over again that smiling and and laughing contribute to good health and happy lives (probably because people that smile and laugh are slightly less stressed and stress actually leads to health problems). It has also been proven that the majority of the human race feels better about themselves and the world around them when they do something for someone else with no expectation of receiving anything in return. So our self-centered attitudes are depriving us of the "feel-good" moments that provide the emotional nutrition of our lives.

Fact three: SPAM is the meat that gives instant gratification. My generation has been marked as the Now Generation. We know what we want and we want it right now. Gone are the days of setting a goal and working hard to achieve it. No, we want everything handed to us on a silver platter. We don't want to work to attain the degree neccessary to get the white collar job, we feel that we "deserve" it based on our parents, our background, our so called hardships while growing up or any other host of reasons that we can think of to avoid actually having to work for something.

While it is easy to look at these comparisons and shake our heads and wonder how we are ever going to fix the moral decay that has permeated our lives, the answer is really quite simple. It is one three letter word.... G.O.D. God is fully capable and 100% willing to be the meat in our lives. If fact, that's the way He originally planned for it to work. He never intended that we search for emotional nutrition in the world, He has everything we need for our daily values and more. And the problem that my generation has with wanting that instant gratification? He has that worked out too. See I've noticed that when I actually have a relationship with God (prayer, fasting, communication with God and His believers) things in my life become a great deal easier. Yes, I still have to work for what I want (the only thing I don't have to work for is God's love and forgiveness), but I don't have to work nearly as hard when I have God's help as I do when I am trying to achieve my goals and dreams on my own.

So while the world has nothing to offer me but SPAM, (and no, I still have no clue why anyone would actually eat that stuff) I can take some comfort in knowing that my Heavenly Father is ready and willing to serve me a nice juicy porterhouse the moment I ask him for it.

So what are you having for dinner tonight?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

American musings on German living

There are many things that I know. There are many more things I don't know. My goal in life is to have the "don't" in the second sentence moved to the same location in the first sentence. In an attempt to achieve this goal my wonderful husband and myself made the decision to move our beautiful little family halfway around the world to set up shop in Germany for a few years.
When the United States Army heard that the Moore family had the desire to live in Europe and travel the world they were kind enough to foot the bill for our move over here as well as paying our rent and utilities for the duration of our stay in exchange for me relinquishing all rights to my husband for the next 20 or 30 years. When presented with a deal like that I could hardly refuse!!
I first became acquainted with this foreign land on the first day of August in the year 2010 and I have spent the past two and a half months exploring the back roads and country sides of my little region in Germany. In the course of my adventures I have already had the good fortune to learn a great many interesting things. While much of my newly acquired knowledge has little value in life, the process of obtaining these tidbits of information has provided a great deal of entertainment for me.
One of my main concerns in moving to a new country was that I did not speak the language before I moved here. I decided that until I was able to actually carry on conversations in German that I would learn a few crucial phrases to get me through the day. Initially I felt that the most important one (aside from "do you speak English?") would be "excuse me". After all, who doesn't appreciate a well mannered individual? Apparently the Germans don't. I quickly realized that the reason that none of the Americans that I encountered knew how to say "excuse me" in German was quite simply because there is no need to know that phrase because the Germans do not use it!! It would seem that the acceptable way to move through a crowd or to get someone to move out of your way is to either stand and stare at them until they get uncomfortable enough to move or to simply shove them out of your way. Being a rude person by nature, this works out well for me!
My next concern was learning how to drive in accordance with the German "rules of the road". Once again, it did not take long to learn that the Germans driving style is pretty similar to their walking style. Whoever is bigger has the right of way and every trip is essentially a huge game of chicken where every driver is a player whether they realize it or not. I recently took a trip with a German woman who married a U.S. soldier. One of his gifts to her was a Hummer. Let me just say, it is NEVER a good idea to give a German driver a car that is larger than EVERY other vehicle on the road!! This woman drove fast enough to compete with Jeff Gordon and when faced with oncoming traffic she would simply laugh and say, "Look at the little speed bumps!!!" I eventually just closed my eyes and began to pray that God would have mercy on my soul because I was sure that I was going to meet him before the day was over.
In addition to the majority of the drivers being absolute maniacs, there are very few stop signs or actual intersections outside of the major cities. Instead the Europeans seem to prefer "traffic circles" or "roundabouts". Basically these are 4-way intersections that merge into a circle and merge back out onto whatever road you would like to take. While these sound relatively simple at first I have a strong dislike for these "traffic circles" because some of them have two or three lanes and the Europeans don't really care for the thought of allowing anyone to merge in order to exit the "traffic circle". In fact the only way to merge in any situation is to have the good fortune of having the larger vehicle. (Remember? whoever is bigger has the right of way.) Luckily, I am an American and we like our vehicles to be oversized, gas guzzling SUV's and the Europeans are really quite fond of the Smart cars!!
Another thing the Europeans are fond of is their leisure time. These people have managed to develop the most amazing aversion to work I have ever seen!! They will go to work in the morning, break for a ridiculously long lunch and (maybe) come back for a couple of hours in the afternoon. There are no German businesses open on Sunday's and they take more "holidays" than I could even make up! They combat the poverty that logic would say comes from a nationwide allergy to work by charging for absolutely everything. From ketchup to dip French fries in to a glass of water (you pay for the refill on the water as well) absolutely nothing is free.
Every day I find myself encountering yet another notable difference between Germany and the United States of America. Some differences make me grateful for being raised as an American, others remind me how happy I am that we made the decision to step outside of our comfort zones, leave our families and friends behind and take that giant leap into unknown territory. Either way this is a huge learning experience and an amazing opportunity that we may never get again. There is one thing that I know for certain though. Despite all of this country's quirks and flaws, I have somehow managed to fall completely and totally in love with this place. The scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The carefree attitude towards life is like a breath of fresh air after 24 years in a country where not working usually results in not eating. These people quite simply love life and they make sure that they live it to the fullest!! I know that my time over here will fly by and I am not looking forward to the day that I will have to tell this beautiful country goodbye, but if I can return to the States with even a hint of the approach to life that the Europeans take then I will consider my time well spent and I will be one step closer to my goal of knowing more things than I don't.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Retail Therapy.....

For years women have been using shopping as an alternative to scheduling sessions with a therapist. One of my close friends and I use it as an escape from our husbands, children, pets, work, annoying friends, annoying strangers or anything else that we feel provides an acceptable level of stress to merit gathering our credit cards and making a mad dash to a shopping center.

Typically when I mention needing or participating in "retail therapy" it is met with knowing nods from any woman in the vicinity and a sigh and a head shake from any man that happens to overhear the comment. Recently however, one brave soul actually managed to work up the courage to ask why women were stupid enough to use the daily stress of life as an excuse to go shopping and to spend their husbands hard earned money. (Ladies, calm down....we all know that most of us work for our money just like our husbands, and those of us who don't actually go to work at a 9 to 5 still earn more than our keep by simply maintaining the house and caring for our children).

While the feminist in me bristled at the chauvinistic nature of the "gentleman's" comment I managed to reign in my tongue long enough to explain to him why shopping is an absolute necessity for wives and mothers.

The reason we require regular trips to the therapists offices that are located in Maurices, Kohls, Sears, Bath & Body Works and whatever nail salon is in the same area as the shopping center is because we spend an entire day catering to our children, when our husbands return home from work we are then expected to cater to them as well. Cooking, cleaning, managing the bills, it seems our work is never done.

When a woman walks into a store it is almost like walking into heaven for an hour! There are no whining children, no sulking husbands. There is nothing to clean, in fact there are people that work at that store who are paid specifically to clean up the messes made by the therapy patients. We will spend 45 minutes browsing through the store picking up every piece of clothing that catches our eye, another 45 minutes trying on all of those articles, primping in front of a mirror, trying to find that perfect shirt or that perfect pair of jeans. When we finally find that outfit that flatters every curve and covers every flaw we feel like an absolute queen, just for a little while.

We know that we have to return home to children that need bathed. We know that there are probably still dishes from dinner needing to be washed. But for an hour, we feel like we are worry free, living the high life.

Women do not need to go lay on a couch and talk to a shrink about their problems, we have girlfriends for that. We don't need someone to tell us what our problems are, we already know, and there is not a single woman that would be willing to sacrifice those "problems" for her sanity. You see, our "problems" our the very things that we hold dearest, our "problems" are our families and friends.

So gentleman, please understand that your wives are not going to "retail therapy" in an attempt to completely empty your wallets, they are actually trying to save you money that would be spent on costly psychiatrists by visiting retailers instead. (Although an exceptionally fat wallet in the rear pocket of a pair of jeans could potentially lead to pinched nerves or back problems.....) That being said, the next time your wife tells you that she needs some retail therapy just smile, give her a kiss and send her on her merry way. Then hit your knees and pray that your bank account survives her brush with insanity.